Carbs are not why you’re fat. This may surprise you

I never cared about how many carbohydrates, or what types of carbs I ate until after I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. As a type-1 diabetic, I have to count carbs, and/or measure carbs, in order to use that information to determine how much insulin to take. I became obsessed with all carbs, because more carbs, means more insulin injections, so I limit all carbs as much as tolerable. While I am not on a low-carb diet, I try to limit my carbs to no more than 45 grams of carbs per meal, or snack. Most people eat a lot more than 45 grams of carbs at a time; for comparison, one regular slice of pizza is 35 grams of carbs (source USDA). I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that eats just one slice of pizza and calls it quits. California Pizza Kitchen’s Mac and Cheese is 62 grams of carbs, their spinach artichoke dip is 87 grams of carbs, their Chinese chicken salad is 96 grams of carbs, and their hummus with pita is a whopping 145 grams of carbs (1). Most restaurant portions are much too large, and contain way too many carbs and calories for a normal-sized human being.

If you cut out excess carbs, it’s no wonder people lose weight, because extra carbs equal extra calories. The problem with this thinking, is that people believe that carbs are the problem, they are not. It’s the large portions that’s the main problem.

The issue with carbs, that I have, is that I’m not eating enough carbs since I’m 95% vegan, and only eat four times a day. My 45 grams of carbs x 4 meals = 180 grams of carbs (720 calories). Since my protein is coming mostly from vegan carbs like beans and grains, this is not enough fuel to sustain me, so I’m hungry, but I don’t want to eat more carbs. Instead of adding more carbs, I gravite towards fat, so I eat nuts and seeds, and there is nothing wrong with nuts and seeds, except that they contain a lot of calories.

Fats from nuts and seeds (and avocados) are good fats, and we want those in our diets, but if the goal is weight loss, it’s better to eat more carbs than fat, because fat contains more than twice the calories than carbs. All carbs contain 4 calories per gram, whereas fats contain 9 calories per gram. So, to lose those last few pounds, I’m going to have to change my mindset about carbs, and eat more of them, which should increase my satiety so I’m not grabbing handfuls of nuts.

If your goal is weight loss, try adding more healthy “good” carbs, like fruit, beans and vegetables; cutting out the “bad” processed carbs like bread, sugar, and crackers; and limiting oils and fatty foods to see if that will help you lose weight (especially belly fat), instead of limiting carbohydrates.

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